Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Day for Frankenstein

So. There's this day set aside just for Frankenstein. Cool! But:
  • Is it National Frankenstein Day, celebrated on October 29 as I found it listed for my Little Known Holidays sidebar? 
  • Or, is it Frankenstein Friday, celebrated the last Friday in October (and created by Ron MacCloskey, of Westfield, New Jersey)? 
  • Or, is it already over, having been celebrated as Frankenstein Day back on August 30 (to celebrate author Mary Shelley's birthday)?

Eh. Six of one, half a dozen of the other... How 'bout if I just give you what I found out about ol' Frankenstein, and you can celebrate it on whichever day suits your fancy?

Alrighty. Here we go:

Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus was written by British author Mary Shelley. She began the tome at 18, and completed it at the ripe old age of 19. Interestingly, the first edition was published on January 1, 1818 - but issued anonymously. It wasn't until the second edition, published August 11, 1823, that Shelley's name appeared on the book. Then there was a third edition published October 31, 1831, heavily revised by Ms Shelley and also bearing her name as author.

Here's another interesting tidbit: in the novel, Victor Frankenstein is the name of the scientist who creates the creature. In fact, in Shelley's book, the creature itself is never named, and is instead referred to by such terms as, "monster," "demon," and "fiend." Yet, popular culture has transferred the name Frankenstein to the creature instead of the creator.

Now, how about this: in the film adaptations and cartoons that come to mind, and in our collective psyches, the monster Frankenstein speaks in grunts and primitive sentences. However, in Mary Shelley's book, the creature actually speaks quite eloquently and in detailed language, having learned to talk "by studying a poor peasant family through a chink in the wall" after running away from his appalled creator. 

And get this: the creature did not start out vengeful, but only became that way after being met with repeated horror-filled rejection by every human with which he came in contact.

Kinda makes ya feel sorry for the poor fellow. And with Halloween just around the corner, what a perfect time to go find Mary Shelley's book, and get reading...


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